[OSM-legal-talk] Rules for the foundation to hold data assigned to it under

Robert (Jamie) Munro rjmunro at arjam.net
Thu Jul 19 15:16:42 BST 2007


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We need to decide in time for a lawyer to write up a resolution for the
AGM on what rules we want the foundation to be governed by in holding
the data assigned to it.

At this stage, let's not worry about things like "in my country, I can't
assign copyright" or "you can't assign something to the public domain" -
you can do something roughly equivalent, and we'll let lawyers figure
out the correct wording when they come to it.

The first rule is (I imagine) non-negotiable:

* The foundation will make the most up to date version of the data
available in the form of a planet.osm file once a week under a CC-by-sa
license with attribution of "The Open Street Map Foundation".

Here's my first proposed rule:

* The foundation will make data that was given to the foundation 5 years
ago or more available in the public domain for any use by anyone.

I.e. if someone has 5 year old Open Street Map data, they can treat it
like a 50 year old OS map and do whatever they want with it. This only
applies to the Open Street Map data, though, not maps made with that
data, and certainly not maps made by other parties with that data.

If we don't do something like this explicitly, the rule probably becomes
70 years after the last death of all contributors to that data, which is
obviously much too long. We could go 10, 15 or 20 years on this point,
but I don't see what we would gain by doing so.

An important intended side effect of this rule is that if a future OSM
foundation wants to change the rules in any way, they won't ever need
permission from people who only contributed more than 5 years ago.

Second rule:

* Non-profit third parties who wish to derive data from the maps and put
that data in the public domain may do so as long as the public domain
data is not directly reverse-engineer-able into the maps.

I need to work on the wording of that, but the idea is to allow NPEmaps
/ free the postcode to make public domain postcode databases using our data.

Third rule:

* These rules can only be amended / added to by passing a vote of
foundation members at the AGM or an EGM passed by a 75% majority with a
quorum of 20, *and* a separate vote of current contributors also by 75%
majority, where "current contributors" are people who have been
registered on the site for at least 3 months and also made edits within
the last 3 months.

Obviously numbers and wording above can be tweaked, but I think we do
need a way to modify the rules without asking all past contributors
again. The "current contributors" concept may be useful elsewhere. Also
we might like to exclude people who have vandalised the data from it -
perhaps we need rules for booting people out of the project.

Robert (Jamie) Munro
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